It should not escape our notice that John is not at all ashamed to confess in the opening line of this epistle his devout belief in the doctrine of election.   The “lady” to whom he writes is elected of God, meaning for a certainty that she was chosen of God unto salvation, and given grace in Christ, before the world began. John, before delving into the subject matter of his epistle, would have the lady to know, even as Paul did with the Thessalonians, her election of God. Election, rightly considered, is a very comforting subject to the believer. To know that our faith in Christ not a mere accident of good sense and good fortune, but that God Himself ordained us to eternal life before the world began, and then wisely orchestrated the means of drawing us to Himself, helps to make us certain that eternal life is ours, and can never be lost. If it were a work even partially of our doing, then it is a work which might also be undone by us. But since it is God’s doing, which He purposed in Himself eons before we ever had any existence, then we may be certain that the omnipotent Creator will not permit that purpose to fall to the ground.

Election is a sacred and a comforting truth, whether we regard it as a grace bestowed upon each individual believer, or consider it corporately, as regards either a local church or the church universal. If perchance this was an individual Christian woman and her children to whom John wrote, it would have been a signal comfort to them to hear the holy apostle so confidently designating them as people who were chosen of God before the world began. If, as I rather think, it is a church to which John writes, the same comforting knowledge would help them to know that they were not just a heterogeneous collection of individuals united by common religious opinions, but that their gathering together was according to the purpose of God, Who had ordained them to salvation, and had also ordained them to worship together in the same assembly. To know that we, both individually and collectively, had a part in the eternal gracious purpose of the Almighty God, is a very soul-exalting doctrine, and we may rightly pity those who are without this knowledge. John would comfort this dear lady and her children with the knowledge that they were saved because they had been chosen by God to that end, and that their gathering together in a common assembly for the worship of God and the administration of Christ’s ordinances, was no accident, but was also according to the choosing of God, and the outworking of His providence in time and history.

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